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Apply to PhD stat or math?

  1. Oct 7, 2012 #1
    I'm a graduate student at MSU getting my M.S. statistics right now. The department I'm in is the "Department of Statistics & Probability" and the majority of the courses I've taken have actually been probability related.

    I'm applying to PhD programs right now, and my interest is more in probability rather than statistics (though I do have mild interest in statistics and I wouldn't mind getting a PhD in stat). For this reason, for most of the schools that I'm interested in, I'm applying to both their math programs (with probability focus) and their stat programs.

    My question then, is for the schools that I have to choose (i.e. UCLA is one), am I going to be at a disadvantage trying to get into a math program over a stat program? Normally I wouldn't consider it to be an issue, but I got my B.S. in math and was very undisciplined during my undergrad and did terribly in a lot of upper level courses (2.5 intro analysis, 2.5 abstract alg, 2.5 abstract alg II, though I did do well in a few others. I think my avg math gpa was ~3.25 with my undergrad gpa 3.07), while I am doing very well in my masters program, getting all 4.0's and 2 3.5's to get an average 3.91 gpa, but those are mostly in stat courses (a few exceptions being 4.0 real analysis II, 4.0 intro measure theory, and 4.0 in two stochastic processes classes which could be considered mathematics courses) and I am taking theory of probability I and II this fall and spring and intend to 4.0 them.

    In addition, I have very strong letters of recommendation from three professors, one being in the math department, one being joint math/stat, and the last being in the stat department (though her research is in probability + stochastic processes), but my only paper (on arXiv, and being reviewed for publication right now by a journal) is an application of time series.

    My last concern is that I am taking the math subject GRE next week and also nov 10, and I haven't studied nearly as much for it as I'd like. I can get away with just not sending my scores to, for example, UCLA if I just apply to their statistics program.

    I apologize for the long-winded post, but this is something I have been debating over for a long time and was hoping to get some input. Please let me know if you guys have any suggestions, or need to know additional information, and thank you very much in advance.
  2. jcsd
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